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chelle21689's avatar

Is it ok to cry in front of a dying friend?

Asked by chelle21689 (5450 points ) February 11th, 2013 from iPhone

I’m not very close to him but whenever we saw each other we would have conversation, he was the nicest person ever, and my cousins and I are friends with his cousin. Also, my sister was good friends with his sister but recently drifted apart due to just life. My boyfriend also played tennis with him in high school.

He has pancreatic cancer at 24. Just diagnosed and everything happened so quickly. It hasn’t even been 2 weeks since diagnosis. He’s barely alive….he died but they revived him. I’m afraid I don’t know what to say at all since we haven’t really hung out. Also I hate seeing people in pain and I know I will cry. Should I excuse myself and leave to cry in private??

I never ever had to deal with stuff like this. I feel like everything hit me and my bf all at once in three days having to visit his critically ill grandma and dying friend. It’s all new to us.

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14 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

It’s okay for someone dying to see someone cry. It’s an honest emotion. It is important that it be done with focus on the patient. Hug him if you can, hold his hand, look in his hand, smile through your tears. Stay as long as you can and as long as he can handle having a visitor.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s perfectly okay. He knows what’s going on. A little shared emotion is good.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is fine to cry. It’s natural and he knows it. Ask him if there is anything he wants done ike: sending a message to someone, closing computer accounts, or burning and/or burying evidence. He might appreciate someone from other than his family doing it.

rojo's avatar

Sure it is. Indicates you’re human. Try not to break down into a sobbing mess but let your emotions show.

wundayatta's avatar

I’d like to say it’s ok to cry, but you have to be careful. People who are dying do not have the energy to take care of the pain of others. Yet, I have heard from many that they so feel like they have to care for those who are more upset about their death than they are.

So I would say it’s ok to cry so long as you are not requiring attention, or even if you don’t require attention, so long as the patient doesn’t feel like they have to take care of you. You should be there to support them, not get support from them. You can share feelings, but you shouldn’t sap their energy.

Usually, the people around the dying person my keep people from seeing them if it is taking too much energy. So you may not even get to see them. However, since the person is so young and newly diagnosed, the people around him may not know how to protect him,

So look inside yourself. Are you there to support him? Or are you there to deal with your own shock and dismay? If it is more the latter than the former, you need to be careful. Otherwise, if you are a support, it is ok to share your sadness and love.

ETpro's avatar

I can only answer this from my own point of view. It would be more than OK to me, as it would show me in clear emotional terms that you cared about me. But I can imagine others who might feel like @wundayatta suggests. They might feel that at their weakest moment, they were being tasked with healing someone else’s pain. If you know him well enough to know how he will take it, let that guide your decision,

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Most of the deaths in my immediate family were very sudden. I would have welcomed the chance to tell them good bye and I loved them. This isn’t as close to you, but still let them know you valued the time you spent with them and that you will keep their memories with you. Play off their emotions and temper your message by what they send you. 24 is awfully young for this disease so don’t be surprised by some anger. But it is ok to let them know they meant something to you.

marinelife's avatar

It is better not to put your feelings on him. He is having to deal with too much already by himself. Try to be cheerful and make him laugh when you see him. Cry on your own time.

chelle21689's avatar

I didn’t cry. But when I saw him he was extremely skinny and barely could talk. He. Seemed to be barely conscious from drug medicine. It hit me later after I left his house and started to cry so much. He just doesn’t deserve it. Is it weird that I’m depressed and sad for him when we aren’t super close?

I couldn’t even conversation with him. All that was said was “hi” in exchange while his sister helped him and we were there for not even a minute because he needed his rest

susanc's avatar

It’s not weird that you’re depressed and sad when you aren’t super close, not weird at all. Death itself makes us sad. Death and the wasting away of the beautiful body of a young person: hard to see.
We cry for the person who has to leave, and we cry knowing we, too, will have to leave. It’s natural. You were kind to go, and it was the best thing for you to do.

zenvelo's avatar

@chelle21689 Not a thing weird about your feelings, it is a very sad thing to go through for anyone. Your showing up even for a minute will let him know you cared.

People dying young is felt as so much more of a tragedy because we can see the lost potential, and that they did not experience all we would want them to experience. Hug his parents and share your sorrow, they will be burying a child, even if he is in his twenties.

You’re in my thoughts, hang in there.

chelle21689's avatar

Thanks guys. I really wish that life could just be fair…let the people who just do no harm and bring happiness to others don’t have to suffer through this and die….if only fighting hard to do your best could give you what you deserve. If this happened to him and I’m this sad I can’t imagine it being one of the ones I really love. I just keep thinking about him, wishing he’d get better although I know he won’t. I feel guilty of trying to have fun when he’s suffering.

susanc's avatar

Darling.
Seek delight in life for your friend. He doesn’t want you to join him, you know? He wants you to live. Grieving is part of that, but so is joy.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Being honest with your emotions is paramount at the bedside of the dying and tears of love and sorrow are OK, but not anger. (Upsetting the dying in this way is of no benefit to anyone, and dangerous. Honest does not mean tactless. Anger is all about you, not them. Issues can be dealt with without anger.) In hospice terminology, this is called “Terminating,” and it is encouraged. I believe Dr. Kubler-Roth covers all this in her book, Death and Dying. This is the last moments of a person’s life, make it real. They deserve that much respect, as well as you. It’s also a healing process for both of you.

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